Mr President,

Mr President of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Education, dear Bruno STUDER,

Mr Rapporteur, Mr Pascal BOIS,

Ladies and gentlemen of the Assembly,

It is a great pleasure for me to be here today to review this proposed legislation to create the National Music Centre. It is a project that I am very attached to: nearly 9 years ago, I participated in the first report on the subject, alongside Alain CHAMFORT, Daniel COLLING, Marc THONON and Didier SELLES.

Unfortunately, our recommendations had not been followed, and the political choices made at the beginning of the previous five-year period had led to this project being put on hold. But today, here we are.

The passage of this bill will allow the National Music Centre to see the light of day on January 1. This is an ambitious deadline. To hold it, we can collectively rely on the in-depth work, led by Roch-Olivier MAISTRE, first of all, whose report “Assembling Music, for a National Centre” has been widely praised by music professionals; and by the deputies Emilie CARIOU and Pascal BOIS, whom I greet and thank. After a broad consultation with all stakeholders, their preliminary report was submitted in January to the Prime Minister, who affirmed his wish to see this centre created on 1 January 2020.

These works converge very widely: they confirmed the need to create a «common house» for music.

Music is the first cultural practice of the French. It is democratic art par excellence; an art that allows, even more than others, to break down cultural and social barriers. Because music has this universal that it speaks to each of us. Because there is no pre-requisite to be moved by a melody. Because there is no need to know the history of classical music to vibrate to the sound of Renaud CAPUÇON’s violin. Because there is no need to understand the words of Aya NAKAMURA to be able to sing them.

Music is also a powerful lever of freedom. Including in priority areas of city policy or isolated rural areas. From NTM yesterday to PNL today, how many artists come from these neighborhoods that they were told they could never get out of? From MADEON to KUNGS, how many DJs have been revealed by posting remixes from their rooms on Soundcloud or Youtube?

Music is finally one of the country’s main cultural industries, with its economic dynamism and international influence. A few weeks ago, the presence of DJ SNAKE, CHRIS and Charlotte GAINSBOURG on the stages of the prestigious Coachella Festival was a testimony to this influence.

In the space of a few years, this industry has been profoundly transformed – this has not escaped you. By the rise of digital, by the revolution of listening modes.

Over the past 15 years, the phonographic industry has experienced a major crisis, notably due to mass piracy, with a 60% drop in turnover between 2002 and 2015.

Today, the industry seems to have weathered the crisis it had to go through. Since 2016, it has returned to growth, mainly thanks to the growth of “streaming” – the minister in charge of the Francophonie cannot use another term, especially in this chamber.

However, we must be very careful. The sector remains fragile, in several respects: Streaming can be a threat to musical diversity, with the risk of listening to a few of the most popular artists and musical genres; a risk reinforced by platform recommendation algorithms.

More broadly, the dominant position of some large platforms can weaken the musical ecosystem. The rise of these new modes of distribution erases borders and increases international competition. It is a great opportunity for the dissemination of French artists abroad; but it is also potentially a threat to the place of French and French musical creation in our country.

 

The musical performance has been remarkably dynamic in recent years, despite the infamous attacks it has had to endure, from Paris to Manchester. Here again, music has demonstrated its power of gathering and communion.

However, it is a sector that is also exposed to the risk of excessive concentration. It experienced a slowdown in activity last year, which everyone hopes will be purely cyclical.

Moreover, the distinction between live performance and recorded music is becoming less and less effective.

Actors are now conceiving their artistic and economic development in an increasingly integrated way, in so-called “360° strategies” that put the creator, whether an author or a performer, at the centre of the project.

These profound upheavals shattered the old divides.

It is time to draw the consequences. It is time to streamline, adapt, and strengthen our tools to support, accompany, and observe the music industry. It is time to bring them together in a common home.

That is the whole purpose of the National Music Centre.

It will have to be at the service of the entire music industry, of all aesthetics. It will be entirely geared towards creators. The economic supports it will implement will be designed to promote cultural diversity and foster innovation. It will place territorial and international dimensions at the heart of its action. It will complement and amplify the daily musical activities of the regional cultural affairs departments of my Ministry, in close liaison with local and regional authorities. It will also have an essential mission of observation, monitoring and foresight. The studies to be carried out under this heading will make it possible both to assess the effectiveness of the support mechanisms – I am thinking in particular of tax credits, which Parliament called for during the budget discussion, that they be better monitored and shed light on the issues of sharing value, supporting the digital transition, and promoting musical diversity in the face of the phenomena of concentration.

These studies will thus be able to feed the reflections on the improvement of our regulatory mechanisms, which will remain the responsibility of the central administration. In order to prepare the conditions for the establishment of the National Music Centre, I set up an operational committee at the end of March.

I have entrusted the chairmanship to the Inspector General for Cultural Affairs, Catherine RUGGERI. With her long experience in the cultural and musical field, her knowledge of administration, and her ability to take into account the positions of all the actors, she seemed to me to be the best person to lead this delicate mission.

The committee she chairs, which has been meeting every week for over a month now, is composed of the directors of the structures that will be federated within the NJC and the relevant departments of the Ministry of Culture. 

Based on the present draft law, this committee’s mission is to carry out all the legal, budgetary, administrative, real estate, IT and social projects that will lead to the creation of the NJC at the beginning of 2020.

I stress in particular the human dimension of the project. I would like to pay particular attention to the employees of the various organizations that will be involved in the NJC and to the terms of their transfer.

I also hoped, always in a spirit of consultation and acceptance, that stakeholders and professionals in the sector would be fully involved in these reflections.

Thus, a committee of prefiguration, integrating all the representatives of the sector, was created to exchange regularly with Catherine RUGGERI and the operational committee. It met for the first time last Friday, and I know that the discussions were fruitful, particularly on the text we are debating today. It will meet regularly until the end of the year to continue the joint reflection.

The National Music Centre project has long been near and dear to my heart – as you know. You can count on me to put all my energy and all my will at the service of its realization.

Dear Pascal BOIS: I am at your side to defend the diversity of musical creation; this diversity that is so dear to us! This project is a new impetus for the music industry. This bill is new guarantees for its players. It is a coherent and balanced text. That is why the Government fully supports this parliamentary initiative.

And I sincerely wish to thank its authors, the rapporteur Pascal BOIS, and more generally the members of the Committee on Cultural Affairs with whom my Ministry has been able to carry out a fruitful work – and of which I greet the President, dear Bruno STUDER. I have followed your debates in the Commission with great interest.

And I welcome the points of agreement that your work has achieved. In particular, I would like to welcome several developments adopted in committee, which the Government supports.

You have enriched the definition of the missions assigned to the future CNM. And these enrichments are valuable. I am thinking of the explicit addition of musical creation, which is fully consistent with the Government’s desire to place artists at the heart of the NJC’s missions. I am also thinking of the mission of enhancing musical heritage.

This is an important aspect of cultural policy in favour of music, in connection with outreach and transmission missions.

The National Centre for Music will of course have to ensure that its action in this area is linked to that of the BnF, which remains the custodian of the musical heritage, or that of the Cité de la Musique-Philharmonie in Paris, which the Museum organizes remarkable exhibitions, as at present, with the Electro Expo.

 

Ladies and gentlemen of the Assembly,

I would now like to refer to the amendments I wish to submit on behalf of the Government. Some of the amendments which, because they are inadmissible under Article 40 of the Constitution, could not be adopted in committee, and I know that many of you will agree to them.

In order to continue to enrich the NJC’s missions, we would like to give it expertise in arts and cultural education.

These competences should be exercised in coordination and in complementarity with existing actors, in particular regional cultural affairs directorates and local authorities.

We would also like to include in the legislation the possibility for collective management organizations to pay to the NJC a portion of the amounts they are required to allocate to their cultural and educational activities.

On the one hand, it is necessary to allow the CNM to receive the private funding currently allocated to the associative structures it will assemble.

Beyond the preservation of the existing, it is a way to encourage the pooling and rationalization of support for music, in a logic of public – private partnership, as soon as the actors concerned decide to do so.

Finally, we want to open up the possibility for two other organizations to join the NJC – if and only if, of course, their boards of directors so decide, with full respect for the freedom of association.

The Centre national de la chanson, des variétés et du jazz (CNV), the Fonds pour la création musicale (FCM) and the Centre d'information et de ressources pour les musiques actuelles (IRMA) were already included in the initial proposal.

In addition to these three organizations, we propose to add the Bureau export de la musique (BurEx) and the Club action des labels et des disquaires indépendants français (CALIF).

The integration of the Export Bureau is consistent with the NJC’s missions, since it will have to provide export support and the influence of our musical creation.

This integration was envisaged in the two reports to which I referred, but things were not yet sufficiently mature.

Since then, discussions with the BurEx and the professional organisations that fund it have revealed a shared desire for integration. I see this as a sign of the positive and virtuous dynamics that have been generated around the NJC project, particularly since the introduction of the bill we are debating.

 

The CALIF, an association supporting independent record stores, also confirmed its desire to join the common home. Its integration is consistent with the 360-degree vision that drives the project: while the CNM must support innovation and support the sector’s digital transition, it must not abandon physical distribution, which still accounts for nearly half of sales. Above all, the integration of the CALIF will strengthen the territorial anchorage of the CNM, of which I want to make an essential axis of the project. It will mark our commitment to the preservation and development of cultural businesses.

They play an essential role in the animation and cohesion of the territories. We will have an opportunity to come back during our discussion on the other amendments I am proposing to you, which I will not dwell on.

Naturally, and your debates in committee have echoed this, the text we are discussing today is not intended to set out in detail all the rules of operation of the future NJC. In particular, I have heard your interest, and rightly so, in governance and funding issues.

 

The governance of the CNM, a public institution, must be tightened and ensure, in accordance with the recommendations of the parliamentary mission, a majority place in the State.

 

The association of representatives of the sector will also be guaranteed by the creation of a professional committee, provided for by an amendment adopted in committee – which I want to welcome.

The financing should be based on the pooling of existing budgetary, fiscal and private resources and on additional resources enabling the NJC to fully carry out the tasks assigned to it by law.

 

The effort will have to be shared by the State, in a form to be determined (budgetary appropriations or allocation of taxes), and by the professionals, through the voluntary contributions of the collective management organizations, which I have already mentioned.

These two subjects are at the heart of the work conducted by the operational committee led by Catherine RUGGIERI.

This work will lead to specific recommendations on the one hand for the drafting of the statutory decree and, on the other hand, the draft finance law for 2020.

That, ladies and gentlemen of the House, is what I see as the outline of this bill and this bill:

A beautiful law, dear Pascal BOIS, which you propose to adopt, with the full support of the Committee on Cultural Affairs of the National Assembly and the Government,

And a beautiful project, to which it must give body.

Thank you.